The Yale women’s basketball team returns home this weekend having lost two more games on the road against Princeton and Penn, largely due to an inability to make shots.
On Friday night, the Elis (12–14, 6–6 Ivy) matched up against the undefeated Tigers (27–0, 11–0). Although Yale put up a fight in its first game against Princeton two weeks ago, losing by just six points — Princeton’s narrowest victory all season — this time the Bulldogs did not perform as well, falling 67–49. Yale faced Penn (18–7, 9–2) the following day, but after shooting its second-lowest percentage all season at 28.0 percent, the Bulldogs were again unable to secure a win, with the game ending 59–33 in favor of the Quakers.
“We knew that February would be a very difficult stretch for our team with six of eight games on the road and the Ivy League shaping up to be the best it has ever been, top to bottom,” head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “We are glad it’s March.”
The Bulldogs struggled on Friday night to find a good offensive rhythm against the Tigers. Although guard Whitney Wyckoff ’16 matched her career high of 18 points, shooting 6–9 from the field, the rest of the team did not follow through, shooting 11–45 for a total of 24 percent.
By halftime, Princeton had already established a 16-point lead over the Bulldogs. Princeton was shooting at a 48.1 percent clip, while the Bulldogs were struggling to create effective ball movement, totaling only two assists in the first 20 minutes.
Shortly after coming back for the second half, Princeton increased its lead to 27, with an 11–0 run against the Elis in the first four minutes. With 13 minutes remaining, that lead had increased to 32, its high-water mark during the game.
However, the Bulldogs drew closer in the final minutes of the game. Over the last 6:58, the Bulldogs led a 17–7 run to decrease the Tigers’ margin of victory to 18.
The game, however, was not all negative for the Yale faithful. Guard Clara Mokri ’18 scored a career-high 13 points on 5–11 shooting. She also set new personal bests in points, field goals, three-pointers, steals and minutes played during the contest.
“It was just fun getting a chance to play while also having an impact on the game,” Mokri said. “Personal bests just came as a result of knowing I had nothing to lose.”
With the loss to Princeton, the Bulldogs found themselves tied for third place in the Ivy League and a chance to draw closer to second-place Penn the next night. But the following game did not turn out any better for Yale.
Once again, the Bulldogs were unable to set up a successful offensive strategy. The Elis shot only 28.0 percent, their second-lowest percentage all season.
“We have defended well throughout the season, but meeting the challenge of scoring in the absence of our senior point guard [Sarah Halejian ’15] has been difficult,” Gobrecht said. “Never was it harder than this past weekend against the two best teams in the league.”
No Yale player scored in the double digits. Forward Katie Werner ’17 led the Bulldogs with a total of six points on 3–4 shooting. All of these points were scored in the first half of the game.
Despite causing 14 Penn turnovers throughout the game, the Bulldogs were unable to keep the Quakers from taking the lead. The Quakers shot 44.2 percent on 23–52 shooting. During the first half, this number was even higher, at 47.8 percent on 11–23 shooting.
Penn had two players stand out on offense. Freshman forward Michelle Nwokedi scored a team-best 19 points on 7–9 shooting in addition to her 12 rebounds. Center Sydney Stipanovich scored 12 points on 6–9 shooting, contributing to Penn’s dominance on the court.
Mokri, who stood out in the game against Princeton, played 23 minutes, breaking her season-high set the day before. She recorded two steals and a three-pointer as well.
Despite the losses on the road, Gobrecht said that the team is looking forward to being at home now and finishing the league season strong.
“The team needs to use these next two games to prove to ourselves and everyone else that we can compete with the best teams in the league,” Mokri said. “When we play to our potential, we are one of the best.”
Yale’s final weekend of action comes next Friday and Saturday, when the Bulldogs play Harvard and Dartmouth at home.